By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer
In April we – put off plastic surgery, delay the purchase of a new couch, and forgo dinner out – because on the 15th [17tht this year] we owe Uncle Sam! This is no time for profligacy even in the kitchen, so think twice about throwing away that piece of salmon, that leftover cup of rice, that hunk of bread or that cup of cooked pasta…. It might be better in your mouth than in the garbage!
Here are some ideas for putting those perishable leftovers to work.
• Make bread pudding or French Toast.
• Toast and make croutons and toss in salad.
• Freeze the bread until you can figure out a way to use it.
• Make toast cups [see recipe].
• Use crumbs to coat chicken pieces.
• Cut into shapes – toast and use instead of crackers.
Cookies or stale cake
• Make sweet crumbs – toast in a low oven to crisp – then use as topping for fruit crumble or cobbler.
• Make a crumb shell [see receipt] for a pie.
• Make trifle.
• Layer with tomato sauce, cheese and cooked vegetables.
• Freeze – reheat with cheese sauce.
• Add to salad or soup.
• Make a rice salad adding meat or fish, vegetables, nuts and serve with bought dressing.
• Freeze for later use. To revive – defrost then microwave on high for 1 minute.
• Grate over vegetables or scrambled eggs.
• Sprinkle on soups or toss in salad.
• Mix with cream cheese and pimientos for an excellent sandwich spread.
• Crumble on pizza or use in sandwiches.
• Toss in salad.
• Make a stir-fry with vegetables.
• Use in sandwiches.
• Add to salads, quiche [see recipe], and soup.
• Toss in pasta salad [see recipe].
• Mash and use as a sandwich spread.
• Fold into omelets.
• Make fish cakes.
½ cup diced celery
4 green onions, diced
1 cup green grapes
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Toss the pasta with the remaining salad ingredients.
Blend the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.
Lightly toss to blend.
Serve on a bed of lettuce
3 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup grated or crumbled cheese, plus 2 tablespoons [divided use] 2 cups assorted chopped cooked vegetables
½ cup soft cream cheese
¼ cup half and half or cream
Salt and pepper
12 cherry tomatoes or 2 tomatoes chopped
Muffin pan well oiled
Preheat over to 375.
Roll the bread slices until flat. Brush with the olive oil and press into the muffin pan cups.
Divide the ½ cup cheese between the cups.
Beat together the soft cream cheese, egg and half and half or cream till smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the egg mixture between the cups – spooning on top of the cheese.
Top with the vegetables.
Sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons grated cheese.
Top with a cherry tomato or a teaspoon of chopped tomato.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until the bread is toasted and the cream mixture is set.
Serve warm or at room temperature
CHEESECAKE WITH ORANGE TOPPING
2 tablespoons soft butter
4 oz soft cream cheese
4 oz ricotta cheese
1 can condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup apricot jam or orange marmalade
Combine the cookie crumbs with the butter and divide into paper cases in a 12-cup muffin pan. Press down the crumbs.
Stir together the cream cheese, ricotta, condensed milk and lemon juice until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the paper cases.
Chill and allow to set.
Combine the jam with the juice of one orange.
Strain, then spread on top of the cheesecakes.
Peel and segment the remaining oranges and arrange on top.
About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?